Healthy social media use is crucial, as its presence has rapidly increased over decades. Although it provides various benefits in regard communication and raising awareness, social media is also extremely harmful. Thus, it is essential to understand the downsides of social media.
Social media typically consists of scrolling through photos and engaging with other users, which can seem harmless. However, users often make upward social comparisons, which refer to evaluating oneself based on others. This behavior often develops when we perceive another user as being superior to us. People tend to evaluate others as either more attractive, fun, happy, or social than themselves; however, this is simply based on their impression of a photo.
It is important to recognize that infinite editing applications exist, which users often use to cover blemishes, whiten teeth, and alter body shape. These apps can distort perceptions of reality and cause individuals to feel inadequate about their physical appearance, which is linked to depression and low self-esteem.
Social media is often a platform where users share highlights from their lives. We often forget that these highlights are never fully representative of anyone. Everyone can be selective in what they post, and most users only choose photos that reflect the happy, positive, attractive moments of life. Recognizing social media is not reflective of reality is thus essential to our wellbeing.
Social media users often develop anxiety disorders, which arise from the need to constantly be connected. It it important to note that both anxiety and social media presence have surged within the last decade. Thus, this connection is far from unexpected. In addition, Researchers at Michigan State University found that social media can actually be addictive. In fact, high-frequency users tend to display the same behaviors and feelings that manifest in drug addicts.
We all know the feeling of going on social media, tuning out, and mindlessly scrolling through our feed. This is passive social media. Research shows that passive social media is substantially more harmful than active social media. It is through this behavior that we are likely to make upward social comparisons. In addition, passive social media is linked to both lower of self-esteem and self-evaluations. Consciously set intentions before going on social media to hold yourself accountable.
If you find yourself often engaging in passive social media, consider modifying your social media habits. A great first step is to set times during the day to disconnect from social media. Tell a friend about your plan so that you can be held accountable. Disconnecting from social media improves overall quality of life, interpersonal communications, and sleep quality. Detaching ourselves from social media from time to time gives us the chance to enjoy life with fewer distractions and anxieties.
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